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Elves and Friends (Modern)

Modern*

CurdBrosBrewingCo

Maybeboard


This deck is based off of my original Elf Devotion deck (Elf Devotion (Modern). This build, however, utilizes our favorite thing...

Planeswalkers!

It's actually quite crazy how well they synergize with one another in an elf-deck. Planeswalkers are very high utility cards; and each of these walkers is better with a board full of creatures; so it works out perfectly!


Win Cons

  1. Garruk Wildspeaker - While Garruk is used to ramp with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; he is a very unique planeswalker in the fact that one can trigger his ultimate the turn after he is cast. In this case, the ultimate of Overrun often can win a game with a board full of elves.

  2. Sarkhan Vol - Sarkhan has been AMAZING in this deck. First, his +1 ability is amazing after a Genesis Wave (as it immediately pumps and gives haste to every creature that hit the board). He quickly "ultimates" (2-turns is all it takes). And often times, his -2 is all you need to not only get rid of a pesky blocker; but add them to your army of attackers! This was originally our substitute for the Swiftfoot Boots in the prior Elf Deck; and he has far exceeded it.

  3. Ezuri, Renegade Leader - This is the king of "Elf Pumpers". After a Genesis Wave you will always have a large amount of mana and several elves on board. Even without a Wave, this often happens. With Ezuri, Renegade Leader, you can easily make your army extremely large.

  4. Craterhoof Behemoth - This is a standard win-con for Elf decks. It just works really well in any deck that generates a ton of mana and utilizes a large board of small creatures. The instant-speed nature of the card via haste also makes it a win-con the turn it hits the board.

  5. Kessig Wolf Run - This is a must have in a deck that has tons of smaller guys but also generates HUGE sums of mana. This land alone turns all of our elves into potential win cons. It has been a very strong addition since the addition of red to the deck.

  6. Primeval Titan - While he doesn't have an instant-speed win; this is one of the most powerful 6-drops in the format. He is especially strong in a deck with both Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Kessig Wolf Run !


Ramp Core

One of the most powerful aspects of this deck is how much mana it can create. The following card all produce mana outside of their devotion:


Draw Core

This deck requires a LOT of draw to maintain the "engine". Green decks often run into issues with running through the entire hand quickly (as they have tons of mana) and getting into "top deck mode". Fortunately, since 8th Edition there has been just enough draw to allow for this deck to run smoothly and maintain the "elf" and "devotion" synergies needed. Also, Domri Rade was built with creature-heavy decks in mind. In sum, there are 18 cards that draw cards in this deck including :

This 16 cards only represents approximately 1/3 of the deck; however planeswalkers also function as "pseudo card draw" (as they function as more than one spell). Also, Nissa Revane goes one step further, as her first +1 places a Nissa's Chosen on-board which is even greater effective card advantage (and instantly adds 4 to your devotion count).


Example Gold Fish

Example Gold Fish Game Depicting Turn 3 Win

Turn One (Cards in Hand = 7 / Devotion = 0)

  1. Play Forest
  2. Cast Elvish Mystic

Turn Two (Cards in Hand = 6 / Devotion = 1)

  1. Play Cavern of Souls
  2. Cast Coiling Oracle revealing Breeding Pool
  3. Cast Heritage Druid
  4. Tap your 3 Elves to cast Elvish Archdruid

Turn Three (Cards in Hand = 3 / Devotion = 5)

  1. Play Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
  2. Cast Abundant Growth (draw a card)
  3. Tap one land and 3 Elves to cast Garruk Wildspeaker
  4. Use remaining two lands to trigger Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for 8-mana.
  5. +1 Garruk Wildspeaker to untap 1 land and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
  6. Use 1 land and 1 floating mana to re-trigger Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx]] for another 8 mana.

Total mana at this point is 15 mana.

  1. Tap Elvish Archdruid for 4-mana (19 total)
  2. Cast Genesis Wave with X = 16

Genesis Wave Reveals: 1. Cavern of Souls 2. Coiling Oracle 3. Sarkhan Vol 4. Craterhoof Behemoth 5. Garruk Wildspeaker 6. Forest 7. Elvish Mystic 8. Elvish Visionary 9. Elvish Archdruid 10. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 11. Abundant Growth 12. Primeval Titan 13. Stomping Ground14. Ezuri, Renegade Leader 15. Grove of the Burnwillows 16. Xenagos, the Reveler

You then draw 3 cards off of the Elvish Visionary , Coiling Oracle , and Abundant Growth .

At this point, your devotion count is 23. Because you can keep the untapped Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (thanks to the new legend rule), you can tap it for 23-mana (using two of the lands to trigger it). You can then use the new Garruk Wildspeaker to untap the Nykthos and re-trigger it with the remaining lands for a total of 46-mana.

You can also trigger Xenagos, the Reveler's +1 for an additional 11 mana for a total of 57.

With Sarkhan Vol 's +1 ability, you give ALL of the creatures haste. You can then trigger Ezuri, Renegade Leader's ability 11 times (as you have 55 mana) to give all your elves +33/+33. All of your "pumps" are as follows:

  1. Ezuri, Renegade Leader's pump the Elves +33/+33 and trample.
  2. Elvish Archdruid's pump the Elves +2/+2
  3. Craterhoof Behemoth pumps all Creatures +11/+11
  4. Sarkhan Vol gives all creatures +1/+1 and haste.

With five 48/48 elves (assuming each was only 1/1 to begin with), and one 18/18 trample Primeval Titan...

Attack for 258 Trample Damage on Turn Three

Obviously, this is a near perfect situation; however the deck generally will "go off" between turns 3-5.


Sideboard

After extensive testing, the bad match-ups this deck sees are Control and Midrange U/R or U/W decks with heavy removal/board wipes. These are really the only decks that I would consider under 50% in game one (unless you can get a turn 3-4 win). For this reason, the deck is heavily weighted toward such decks.

This was a tough side board. "Traditional" sideboards are meant to pretty much cripple meta-decks that are a poor match-up. In this case, however, this deck always wants to be putting on the pressure and building a board/hand presence; so I had to gear the board toward that. The following choices were made:

~ Beast Within ~

This is a great "catch all" side board card. It is used against:

Of course it can be used against a multitude of decks (anything depending on permanents :)

~ Bow of Nylea ~

This was added as a 1-of due to its versatility. I like my sideboards to be made up of cards that effect multiple match-ups and this definitely meets this criteria. Some of the more important reasons are:

  • This deck is weak to flying and this can kill many pesky creatures in the format including Insectile Aberration  Flip, Vendilion Clique, Pestermite , Flickerwisp ...and sometimes most important; it gets rid of the 2/2 tokens we create with our Swan Song's :)
  • The 3-life gain is huge against several decks including RDW, Scapeshift, most fair decks, etc.
  • It's a great mana-sink to simply add a counter to one of our creautres.
  • Removes cards from our graveyard to weaken cards like Tarmogoyf, Scavenging Ooze, and other black graveyard-centric cards.
  • Hurts the random mill decks that pop up every once and a while by putting 4-cards back in the library every turn.
  • It adds 2-Devotion :)

This is a card I am very interested to continue trying out. Seems best as a 1-of; but I feel like in the matches that it is good; it is very good...may be a 2-of in certain meta's; but right now I feel best at 1.

~ Damping Matrix ~

This is an extremely powerful sideboard card in Modern. It is the only "hate" card I currently really run (i.e. focused on my opponent's deck rather than mine). You do have to remove Ezuri, Renegade Leader when you side this in, but it's so good against so many things that it's worth it, It is good against:

  • Twin - Splinter Twin gives a creature an activated ability...this shuts it down.
  • Kiki-Pod - Kiki-Pod's ability is an activated one.
  • Pod - Viscera Seer and Cartel Aristocrat both require activated abilities; but more importantly, so does Birthing Pod.
  • Affinity - turns off Archbound Ravanger, Steel Overseer and Cranial Plating's activated abilities.
  • Tron - Turns off not only Oblivion Storm, but nearly all artifacts in the deck.

~ Swan Song ~

This card is added against any deck running large amounts of removal and especially against control with board wipes (which can be troublesome to this deck). While a main-board set of Cavern of Souls is quite powerful against control; it still is a tough match-up. This allows me to leave up one mana and still ensure that the worst removal spell they play (or counter) can be turned into a 2/2 bird. Also, most opponents simply aren't ready for a counter from this deck (and tap out).

  • Jund - As it has heavy amounts of removal.
  • Twin - Again, lots of removal, lots of counters, and can counter Splinter Twin.
  • Scapeshift - Turning a Scapeshift into a 2/2 bird is crippling.
  • Control - allows me to cast and resolve my bigger spells (Genesis Wave, Planeswalkers, etc.) without having to worry about tapping out (well, down to 1).
  • Storm - Can counter a Manamorphose mid-"going off"
  • Ad Nauseum - Can counter their "can't die" spells or any important card during the combo.
  • Living End - Counters Living End or any of the Cascade Spells.

Obviously, as a "hard counter" it can basically counter any instant, sorcery, or enchantment in return for a 2/2 flyer. A lot of the cards this deck worries about are sorceries, instants, and enchantments; so it's worth the token :)

~ Nissa Revane ~

This cards is this deck's best form of life gain. It is strong against:

  • Red Deck Wins - Any life gain is strong against RDW, anThey have to choose as well as and they have to decide whether to kill your creatures or you.
  • Any "fair" deck - These include Jund, Rock, Zoo, etc. Any deck that works by hitting you for 20 damage relatively quickly is hurt when you begin gaining life.
  • Scapeshift - If they can't find a way to deal with Nissa, they won't have enough mountains to deal the damage.

~ Fracturing Gust ~

While only a 1-of right now, it is a powerful card when I can use it. It obviously comes in in very specific match-ups, but against Affinity is it back-breaking. This is great against:

  • U/W Enchantments - The "Blue Screw" deck that's seeing some play is all enchatments. This obviously hurts it quite a bit.
  • Boggles - Without the Aura's and enchantments, the creatures would just be 1/1 or 2/2 hexproof bears :)
  • Affinity - As discussed above, pretty much ends a match against Affinity because it not only destroys their board, but also gains a ton of life at the same time.

This is a powerful cards that I would like to get to 2-of within the board if I can in the future.

~ Primal Command ~

This is a great sideboard card due to its versatility. While it is a 5-CMC spell; fortunately we normally can generate a good amount of mana. It is great against several decks including:

  • Scapeshift - Because we both gain life and put a land back on top of their deck; we put them back quite a bit.
  • Burn - Gaining 7 life and grabbing a Primeval Titan pretty much puts the game out of reach for burn.
  • Living End / Goyro's Decks - By shuffling their graveyard back into their library (while also putting a land back on top of their library); they can't access their graveyard.
  • Any "fair" Deck - Because we can gain life and search for anything we want, this puts us in really good shape.

This is a truly powerful card. Having the options to quasi-time walk the opponent (putting a land on top), gaining 7-life (which is a very substantial amount), nullifying graveyard strategies, and/or tutoring for the perfect creature is a huge deal for ONE CARD. I am half tempted to put this spell in the main board; however it is awful off of a Genesis Wave so I decided against it :) Typically we will side out Wave when siding these in.


The sideboard will always be changing with the meta to be most effective against one or another deck; but right now it has performed really well. It basically switches 40/60 match-ups to 60/40 ones. Other cards I really like that will move in and out of the board until I feel it's perfect for the meta at the time include:

  1. Thrun, the Last Troll - Great against any decks with heavy removal, targeted spells, and counters...just a really solid sideboard card.

  2. Norn's Annex - Great Ghostly Prison -esq card that works for my planeswalkers too (and can be cast with only green mana and 4 life).

  3. Leyline of Sanctity - Obviously would want to maybe add a Temple Garden to the side board at this point; but this is a very powerful side board card.

  4. Relic of Progenitus - If graveyard-based decks like Living End and Goyro's decks become popular; I will need to side in some graveyard hate. This is probably the best available if I'm not playing any white (which would then be Rest in Peace).

  5. Wilt-Leaf Liege - Great if discard becomes a thing. Pumps everyone at the same time, is an Elf (for Cavern of Souls, Heritage Druid, Elvish Archdruid, and Ezuri, Renegade Leader synergies, and gives us 3-devotion!

  6. Nature's Claim - Obvious reasons...super cheap instant speed artifact/enchantment removal.

  7. Defense Grid - Great against control and flash decks as well as anything with instant-speed removal (Jund, Rock, RDW, Scapeshift, etc.)

  8. Choke - This is great against any blue-based deck (Control, Twin, etc.). If Merfolk becomes a big deck again, this would go in.

  9. Wrap in Vigor - In a mono-green elf deck, this is a great sideboard card for board wipes, Electrolyze, Pyroclasm, etc. Since we run blue, we have a few other options that cost 0-1 mana.

Please let us know if you think of any other cards you think would be great here. Thanks!

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Updates Add

Trying Prime-Time over Khalni Hydra

I'm trying out Primeval Titan vs. Khalni Hydra to see which is stronger / better in the deck.

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